Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Brother Wuz Here ...

And I wrote it that way just to get his goat! Hey, what are younger brothers for? My younger brother certainly knows how to get mine (and of course, by default, terriamachine's even younger brother), but I digress.

In reminiscing about how I used to read his blog silently, I came across his "Goonies" blog. My judgmental faculties and so forth were called into question in this blog, and I would like to extrapolate on this movie, Goonies, that seems to confound my brother's sense of my faculties.

I must clarify one thing: while it is one of my most favorite movies, it isn't necessarily the movie in and of itself which endears me to it. Sure, it's funny, it's an adventure that, in all my years of creek walking, have never encountered, but more than anything, it reminds me of my growing-up years. Of all of us sitting around the TV, waiting for dinner to be ready, trying to stay out of Mom's way, hoping to not get in trouble before Dad came home to spank us for anything we'd already done up to that point.

I imagined myself as Mikey, with his large group of funny friends. We didn't have many kids on our street to play with growing up, and Tom was their friend for the most part, as he was closer to their age. I, being unable to catch the football, to run without looking like a girl, and incompetent (compared to them) in the world of video games, had no real friends. I learned to play by myself, mostly losing myself in reading. I had friends at school of course, but once I hit public school in the seventh grade, I remember being not only astonished at the number of kids at the school, but by their appearances, their language, their diversity. I was a nobody once again.

I remember one time, we were at a circus. I forget with whom, but I think it was our whole family. We were maybe ten rows back, and a clown was walking along the stands, asking kids to come down front. He pointed at me, and motioned me to come forward. I looked to my left and right, convinced he was pointing at another child. I looked back at him, pointed to myself, and mouthed, "Me?" He nodded and motioned, more fervently now. But I paused, looked again to my left and right, and once again asked, "Me?" He grew impatient, waved his hand dismissively, and was off.

I lowered myself slowly back into my seat.

I have no other memories of that circus, except that moment. Convinced I was worthless, not even worthy of a clowns attention, I withdrew further into myself.

I also recall one time, in seventh grade, about halfway through the year, we had a substitute in science class. Ms. Sassaman probably had to go get her hair dyed blond-green again, so there was Mrs. Thomas, a nervous, twiggy, bird-like creature who always seemed on the edge of an imminent nervous breakdown. We were sitting there, most of the kids in my class making Mrs. Thomas ever more nervous, and she had asked some type of question to which I knew the answer. And even though I was never called on (for at this point I was beginning to think myself totally invisible), I raised my hand regardless, and she said, "Yes, Jason?"
I paused. I looked around, then back at her, and said, "You mean me?"
She looked concerned, nervous breakdown mere seconds away, saying, "That is your name, right?"
I swallowed. "Yes, ma'am."
"Well, what's the answer? Brian, knock that off..."

I never did get to answer the question. But I had been acknowledged.

I immersed myself in Goonies, because Mikey had the life I wanted. A cool bike, an older brother he could outwit and out-do, a group of friends that, even though they made fun of each other, still had fun and cared for one another, and parents who were concerned for them.

Don't get me wrong, I never doubted my parents love for me. But I was one of five, and not even the first, last, or middle. Just the second. Not even the first or last girl or boy in the family, but the middle boy. Tom was the oldest boy, first to do everything, and excelling at all of it. I was always very jealous of his prowess in sports, video games, and everything else he set his mind to. Mike was the youngest boy, always getting dirty, daring to go where neither Tom or I had gone before, kissing worms, jumping into the pond, getting into Dad's tools and tinkering. Sylvia was their first princess, named for our grandmothers. She, of course, being the first girl after three boys, got everything she wanted, spoiled rotten. And then came Cynthia, baby of the family, doomed to be overshadowed by her four older siblings in every way conceivable, but, of course, as all baby's, getting spoiled in her own way.

I love all my siblings. Would die in a heartbeat for them, and I in no way blame my low self-esteem of those years on them or my parents, although they were all certainly factors. But just wanted to shed some light on my love for Goonies. And it basically comes down to jealousy of a fictional character. I still own a copy on VHS, and hopefully, one of these years, I'll get it on DVD just before we move onto the next great technological advancement. But whatever format, I will always own that movie. While I no longer have a friendless, self-made bubble of existence, it holds many memories, for it was the basis for my happy childhood, my escape from mediocrity, my solace. Mikey's adventures helped shape my love for reading, my creativity in art, and my ability to be alone and not be lonely, although that was a hard lesson.

Thank you, Goonies.


Kelly said...

Wow, that was kind of sad, but very deep. I especially thought the part about the clown was insightful, if not just plain weird. You say you don't really blame your parents, but maybe they should have been aware of your esteem problems...

You rock now! :)

Jason Hughes said...

Sorry, didn't mean to get all depressing... I take it all very matter-of-fact now... and the army was great for boostin gmy self-esteem, so ...

The happy-go-lucky guy I am today was brought to you buy-- Uncle Sam! Order now, and you'll also get a free set of Ginsu knives! All this for only $19.99 ! Call now to learn about free shipping!

Anonymous said...

Very nice site!
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Jason Hughes said...

Thank you, Anon. I do try! :D